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Ex-Belarusian Presidential Candidate 'Abducted'

Chairman of the Belarusian Christian Democratic Party Vital Rymasheuski
Ex-Belarusian Presidential Candidate 'Abducted'
MINSK -- Unidentified men in plainclothes forced former presidential candidate Vital Rymasheuski into a car near his Minsk home on December 19 and drove him to an unknown location, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Rymasheuski, the chairman of the unregistered Belarusian Christian Democratic Party's founding committee, was able to use his mobile phone to call his colleagues and say that four men took him away in a blue minibus as he left his house. He said "I consider this act to be an abduction" before his mobile was turned off.

Rymasheuski's colleagues say "the abduction" must be connected with the one-year anniversary of the disputed presidential election of 2010.

Following the controversial election on December 19, Rymasheuski and several other presidential candidates along with some 15,000 others gathered in Minsk to protest the official results of the election that gave incumbent Alyaksandr Lukashenka another term in office.

Rymasheuski and several other presidential candidates and dozens of supporters were beaten and/or arrested on that day and in the days that followed.

Rymasheuski, 36, was found guilty in May of organizing mass disturbances and received a suspended two-year jail sentence.

Opposition activists in Belarus had been trying to obtain legal permission to hold mass gatherings in Minsk and other cities on December 19 to mark the first anniversary of the presidential elections, but the authorities rejected their applications.

Read more in Belarusian here